Story Structure: a Graphic You Can Use

You are one click away from a useable, printable, post-able (as in, on your wall) graphic  representation of classic 4-part story structure, including the 7 major story milestone transition “moments” within the story.

Get it right here: Structure Graphic.

In the previous post I framed this… as part of a Powerpoint presentation on the subject of: how to put your story on steroids.  While the live version had he witty and passionate audio that assists in clarity, the slides stand alone as a tutorial with punch.

Some readers have commented that a few of the other slides (#24, #25 and #28 especially) are just as valuable, if not more so.  As in: what you need to know about your story before it’ll work as well as it could, and in what order of priority.

Yes, that’s what I said.  Steroids.  A total shot in the petard of your story, to make it stronger, bigger, faster, better.  It’s legal, too, an added bonus.

If you’d like to see that entire presentation, click here: Story on Steroids

Hope you find this useful.


Click HERE to land a trifecta opportunity: 1) score a mystery/thriller with killer reviews for only $1.99 for the Kindle edition; 2) download a totally FREE, no strings ebook that deconstructs the whole thing, while going behind the curtain to see how this book, and many like it, find their way to market; and 3) snag a rare learning opportunity to go deep and see the principles in play via an in-depth case study.


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10 Responses to Story Structure: a Graphic You Can Use

  1. Martha Miller

    This is great. It’s even better than the tent pole graphic you shared with your readers some time back. In this case, it’s all right there to remind me what to put where. Thanks!

  2. Pamela Moriarty

    Thanks, Larry. Best structure graphic I’ve seen. Clear, simple, nails it. I’ve printed it out and started scribbling all over it already! Oh, this goes here, that goes there. Yes, yes, yes!! You’re endless generosity towards helping other writers achieve their goals is inspiring! And I loved Deadly Faux by the way. Am still studying the deconstruction! Learning a lot!

  3. Ruthe Foy

    I cant open the ppt – I still have office 2007

  4. @Ruthe, I also have Office 2007, and I had no problem downloading and opening the PPT file. Perhaps you should try downloading it with another browser?

    @Larry, many thanks for your continued generosity! In concurrence with above comments, this is one of the clearest structure graphics I’ve come across, and I’ve seen a bunch of them!

  5. Kerry Boytzun

    thanks Larry!

  6. Jason Waskiewicz

    The most fun thing about this graphic is that it isn’t new. Story structure has been part of human culture for a very long time. But, I will admit that, even though I knew it, I wasn’t so good at following it. I have 10 awful novels in my basement that I “pantsed” and will forever remain in my basement because they’re not actually stories: they’re collections of events.

    What’s helpful is that between Larry Brooks and K.M. Weiland, I finally figured out how to structure a story. I’m still working on the third draft, so time will tell if it’s a good story, but I don’t need experts to know that it is a far better story.

    I gleaned this structure from Mr. Brooks’ work. I had already done a lot of planning (as recommended by K.M. Weiland) when I discovered Mr. Brooks. I wrote an outline that began with the major milestones from his structure, and then added in the other milestones. From there, I could build all of my ideas and create the outline for a proper novel. I’m a boring person, so time will tell if I created a good novel. I do know that I created a properly structured novel!

    The scary thing is that I now look for this structure in stories I like. Most of them have it.

  7. Robert Jones

    Even though I’ve managed to stick this stuff in my brain like ice-picks in lieu of tentpoles, I still downloaded the graphic because it illustrates very simply and beautifull the key elements and story divisions. Wish I had this a long time ago. But a good visual representation of such points will always be useful. Frankly, I believe whether a writer plans or pantses, hanging this graphic on the wall, or keeping it near your computer is a great way to ask if each scene fits the basic criteria of each story quarter. Might help us resist the tempatation of shoe-horning in scenes that don’t fit and will take precious time to edit out later when we’ve convinced ourselves the writing is some of our best, it adds something important to the character, it has to stay!

    BTW, there’s always places in a novel length manuscript where such information can be fitted more economically–and without creating speed bumps to slow down pace and twist story structure. Not saying it’s always easy. I’ve lost track of the times where days, or weeks later, I’ll spot the obvious way to fix something I’ve stared too hard at.

  8. Bill Cory

    I took a screen shot of the graphic, modified it with colors and levels, and put it on my computer as a desktop graphic. Every time I open the computer, it’s right there, reminding me: Stick To The Structure!

    BTW, does anyone else use Safari and have trouble posting comments? I had to switch to Firefox to get the “submit” button to actually submit.

  9. Robert Jones

    @Bill–I use Safari. But I also know a lot of Windows users have had trouble posting. If your comment takes more than a couple of quick lines to get across, you have to copy your comment, refresh the page, then paste it in a fresh window before submitting. Not sure why.

  10. William Cory

    @Robert – Thanks — I’ll try that!